Sheppard Mullin proudly joins in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native and Indigenous people.
In 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared November as Native American Heritage Month also referred to as American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage month. This month-long celebration is a time to recognize and commemorate the contributions of Native peoples.
Among the many cultures and heritages in the U.S. there are three with ancestries and histories dating back long before the Americas were colonized: the indigenous peoples of the U.S. known as Native Americans, the indigenous peoples of Alaska known as Alaskan Natives and the Aboriginal Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands. As of 2020, there are over 9 million who identify as Native American and Native Alaskans alone or in combination with other races. This number is up from 5.2 million reported in the 2010 census. With over 500 federally recognized tribes living within the U.S., many have managed to maintain their heritage, religious beliefs, and culture despite the unique challenges Native people face.
A large number of Native Americans live on reservations and live by their own governments and social structures. Currently, there are over 300 Native land areas in the United States administered as federal Indian reservations. The Tribal Preservation Program is headed by the National Park Services in the U.S. government's efforts to help preserve their historic lands and important cultural heritage.
While American Indian, Indian, Native American, Indigenous and/or Native are all acceptable terms when referring to Native people it is important to note that it is best to use the individual tribal name whenever possible. While Native American has been widely used in the United States, many Native people prefer the terms American Indian or Indigenous American. When in doubt, it is always best to ask individuals.
Educational and Entertainment Resources recommended by Sheppard Mullin
- Indigenous Heritage | National Park Service
- American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2022 | U.S. Census Bureau
- 6 Stories Celebrating Native American History and Culture | Great Big Story
- #HonorNativeLand | U.S. Department of Arts & Culture
- Native American History | National Archives